Buckmasters Magazine

Better Than Basketball

Better Than Basketball

By Gary Spangler

Chad might have given up sports over the years, but he’s not giving up hunting.

Chad Richmond, a hunter from Leesburg, Ohio, is a passionate person. In his youth, Chad’s passion was sports, particularly basketball, and then deer hunting. His wife and children have replaced basketball on the list, but deer hunting is still right there at No. 2.

Chad has harvested several nice bucks with his bow, but the 2005 bow season ended without a big buck claiming one of his tags. He hunted hard through the rut, but things just didn’t work out like he planned. When Ohio’s gun season arrived, Chad had still not harvested a buck.

On the last day of gun season, Chad took his son, Noah, and went out for the evening. As daylight began to fade, Noah began to get restless and fidget. While wanting to be patient and wait until final shooting light, Chad did his fatherly duty and asked his son if wanted something to eat. Noah said he did, and as Chad put down his gun to retrieve a packet of cheese crackers, a huge buck and two does sprang up out of nowhere and disappeared over the hill. It was the last buck he would see in 2005.

Chad’s 2006 archery season began as every other. He had scouted, tuned his bow, practiced and was ready for opening day. The early part of the season wasn’t productive, but the rut was still ahead.

November 13 was like every other day for Chad. He awoke at 4 a.m. and began his work day, arriving at his job at 5 o’clock. The good thing about starting so early is that he can get in a few hours of hunting at the end of the day.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Chad checked the wind and decided to head to a location where he had seen some tremendous buck sign. In a slight southeast wind, Chad climbed up to his stand at 2:45 p.m. and anchored himself in for an enjoyable evening with nature.

Chad was hunting near a cedar thicket that had produced deer for him in the past. Not long after settling in, he was pleased to see some does in and around the thicket. But the rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful.

Chad RichmondAt about 4:15, Chad heard some commotion. He peered into the thicket, trying to pinpoint the source of the noise, but a squirrel in a nearby pine kept him from being able to hear much else. Suddenly, a loud snap came from the thicket.

Ignoring the pesky squirrel, Chad stayed focused on the thicket. As he watched, vague movement crystallized into a massive buck, tilting its head from side to side to keep its antlers from catching on the many branches.

Chad stood and concentrated on the body of the buck as it headed straight for his stand. As the buck got closer, Chad realized it was headed for a trail to his right. In order to get a shot, he would have to make some movement and turn that way if he hoped to draw his bow.

Being ever so careful, Chad began to turn as he came to full draw. But when he planted his right foot, a haunting squeak erupted from the stand.

The buck abruptly stopped and snapped its head around, looking the hunter right in the eyes! Thinking the magnificent animal was going to bolt, Chad’s heart began to pound even worse than before. The buck was at 27 yards and knew something was wrong. It took one cautious step forward, paused and then took another step.

On the second step, Chad took the shot.

There was a loud crack as the arrow found its mark, and the massive monarch bolted away, snapping the arrow as it ran.

Believing that he had made a good hit, Chad tried to be patient as he replayed everything in his mind. One thing bothered the veteran hunter, though: he hadn’t heard a crash. There was nothing but silence. He waited impatiently for 30 minutes before nauseous anticipation drove him from the stand. He had to go look.

As Chad walked over to where the buck was standing when he shot, he found the snapped-off arrow and a tremendous blood trail. Tracking was easy and short; the buck had expired just 37 yards from the spot of the shot.

Upon seeing his deer, Chad said, “Oh my God. Thank you, Lord, what a deer!” Then it was time to call some of his hunting buddies to help get the huge buck out of the woods.

When Chad and his friends returned to the woods to retrieve the buck, his buddies couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The spread was the widest of any whitetail they had ever seen. That was the sentiment from everybody who laid eyes on the buck, from local residents to the workers at the check station.

Chad’s buck is a mainframe 8-pointer with one irregular point coming off between the burr and the P1 on the left side. It has an unbelievable 26 7/8-inch inside spread and 29-inch main beams.

This article was published in the October 2007 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.

Copyright 2018 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2017 by Buckmasters, Ltd